Ministry in Eire & Scotland
Not many people will be aware that parts of Eire experienced a time of revival in the mid-19th century, notably in County Kerry, Cork, Limerick and Dublin. Though it didn’t experience the startling effects of the Ulster Revival in 1859 it nevertheless saw many conversions, particularly in the movement known as the Kerry Revival. ¹
In 1862, Hambleton sailed over to Eire for the first of two visits to that country. Edward Usher was going to see his relatives, and he asked him to travel with him. Knowing it to be the mind of the Lord he went.
They arrived in Dublin where Grattan Guinness had previously heralded the name of Christ to thousands with extraordinary power. J Denham Smith, also, having visited the North came back endued with power from on high and was used to good effect. The first day of their preaching was sufficient to stamp the truth to any stranger that they were in a country of spiritual darkness. It was a Sunday and Bishops and priests dressed in scarlet and fine linen were at the head of 20,000 people from different localities, all in a state of excitement, with ensigns and religious paraphernalia, following the drums and fifes through the streets of Dublin to lay the foundation-stone of a new college.
The Metropolitan Hall had been provided for them to hold meetings there, but the attendance the first day was scanty. The following Thursday, however a great number attended, and for five weeks the place was crowded, during which time much blessing was given of the Lord in people getting saved. It was cheering to witness some 2000 faces drinking in the words of life each night of their preaching, and many remained for the after meetings.
Edward Usher having fulfilled his mission of bringing Hambleton to his native country then returned to his family in Manchester. Hambleton then moved down South, preaching the gospel in various towns there. Whilst at a place called Mallow he received news from Cork, the place of his next movement, that Gavazzi, an Italian ex-priest had gone there to lecture against Popery, and the thought came into his mind that he would stir up trouble prior to his visit. However, he was confident that the Lord had directed him to the south of Ireland to sow gospel seed. The Protestant Orphan Hall was booked for two nights and the hall was filled on both occasions. Although there was a little opposition it was not significant, but then a newspaper reporter said that "This man is worse that Gavazzi, because he came to openly attack us, but this fellow neither speaks about the Pope, nor the great whore of Babylon. With him it is ‘Jesus only’ therefore he is a greater enemy than Gavazzi." The next meeting was to be held in the theatre, and news had come from Tralee that Gavazzi had been obliged to flee for his life at 3 o’clock in the morning, and that there had been a riot, with pistol shots having been fired. This then brought thousands to the Cork theatre bent upon the slaughter of the Italian’s pupil, as they supposed him to be. The Lord, however, was with him, and although the noise was excessive, yet his voice, being loud and strong, was heard distinctly through yells and howlings, breaking of boards, and knockings of sticks. After less than half an hour’s great shouting, a great quiet came in the hall. With the place being so crowded no one was able to get in or out, so he determined to give them another hour to sit and hear the gospel, as though they should never hear it again. Many who had been almost sweating with exertion of noise and shouting, now, with open mouth and caps pulled off, were wiping away tears from their eyes as they heard of the love of Jesus. Many people remained behind, anxious for their souls.
This town was the next place at which he had promised to hold meetings there, but he was well aware that a nest of hornets would be there to encounter. The Italian had been stirring up the people to such an extent that a riot had taken place, and serious damage had been done, but he had escaped the pistol shots and fled away in the early morning when he was surrounded at the hotel where he was staying. Whilst on the way there Hambleton met two young ladies who told him of the great revival that had been going on in Kerry, where many people had been brought to Jesus.
Having arrived at Tralee he made his way to the hotel where the meeting room was, and the results of a recent disturbance were evident to see. He found that what the young ladies had told him was true, and he first of all ministered in a loft to the many new converts who had come to Christ. They had all come with open Bibles listening to the expounding of the Word, and such a time of refreshing was experienced that it was as though heaven had come down to earth. He was then taken to a wild place called Toherbawn, where there were more converts and there was much blessing.
When the time came for him to go to the hall where he was to speak, he found it full when he arrived. The evidence of the mischief effected during the previous week was visible on the walls and platform, and was also manifested in the dilapidated windows of the building. The presence of God, however, was very powerful, and tears were running down the faces of many that heard the Word. Not a dog moved its tongue that night, for the streets were as quiet as though it was an empty town. The enemy was defeated, and the Lord alone was exalted that night.
After visiting various towns and villages, including Yougal, Limerick, Ennis, Kilkishen, Clonmel, and Waterford he returned to England from Dublin in December 1862. He had been there 6 months, and he was again to return there in 1864.
Trip to Scotland
Having been led of the Lord to accompany Harrison Ord, another much used evangelist, from England to Glasgow, a large circus was opened for meetings, and, during the fair week, a local minister erected a large preaching stand on the Green.
Glasgow Fair 1865
About twelve of the Scottish Clergy, and many evangelists, were joined together in the Lord’s work; while at the other end of the Green, thousands were engaged, with shows and the other entertainment. It was a time of great spiritual power and thousands heard the word preached, and many people came to Christ. Country people, who came in for worldly enjoyment, went home praising God for the knowledge of sins forgiven. For eight hours successively each day the crowds listened to the simple message of salvation, and to Hambleton it was remarkable to hear so many, who had been brought up from childhood to attend the Kirk and read the Bible, coming forward confessing their ignorance of these things, and discovering the Bible to be a new book to them altogether. Harrison Ord carried a large banner, containing texts of Scripture and the voices of thousands rang through the air, singing: -
"Come to Jesus, come to Jesus,
Come to Jesus, just now,
He will save you, He will save you,
He will save you, just now."
while the nunnery windows opposite were filled with heads both of priests and nuns, looking one over the other to read the texts and on the banner the words "Jesus only," which were printed on a separate board.
During his three months there with Harrison Ord, they preached the Word of life, and an extraordinary power was felt upon both speakers and people. The Lord gave great blessing there and hundreds of people were brought to Christ during that time.
Mr Radcliffe had visited this place some five years previously with great blessing, and when Harrison Ord and John Hambleton visited there again the blessing was being maintained. Thousands collected together on the Links. They had the happiness of preaching to the masses who sat on the hill, forming a natural amphitheatre. They listened with profound attention, and when they sang in the town, thousands of voices joined in the praises of Him who had called them out of darkness into his marvellous light. The Kirk was also crowded, and the blessing from the Lord was their happy portion at Aberdeen. The great outpouring of the Spirit at Mr Radcliffe’s visit had left fruits of living faith. Some of the converts had gone from this place and also from Banff to other countries, carrying the seeds of life with them.
¹ The Second Evangelical Awakening in Britain p56